Confessions of A Mind Dater

This guy you know… he talks to you. He invites you to hang out in groups and seems to enjoy your company. You are becoming friends. You can’t help but wonder: Is there something else going on here? Is he interested in that way?

And so you start to picture yourself dating him. Is this someone I could see myself with? And you evaluate him. “He likes pizza, too! Wow, it was meant to be…”. You analyze every characteristic of his that you can observe, constantly changing the verdict a thousand times. “I think that he is someone I could date” and two hours later: “Oh, what was I thinking? This is ridiculous. I don’t know ….”

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The World’s Best Bucket List – Hands Down

This past week, I asked a bunch of my girlfriends in my singles ministry if they had a bucket list. Most had a version of such an ambition, even if it wasn’t titled ‘bucket list’. I was incredibly inspired in hearing their responses, as it reminded me that living fully does not require a) a huge budget b) plane tickets  or c) a personal calendar filled with events.

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Princess Series Part 2: The Ariel Effect

One of my favorite childhood memories involves my sister, a coffee table, and various versions of performer outfits ranging from ski hats and swim masks to mom’s and dad’s bathrobes, which trailed behind us like the perfect princess train. Our coffee table transformed into the perfect stage as we belted out our favorite songs.  Here we could be wild and free, and well…epic.  Eventually we outgrew the coffee table and moved the venue to car trips or the occasional sleep over when we came home from college for the holidays. Now we take great pleasure in teaching my nephew to sing our classic tunes – one favorite is Part Of Your World from Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

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In the first Princess post, I pondered what I could learn from studying these characters in a biblical context.  In my job as a literacy coach one strategy I teach readers to think deeper about a text is to lift a line and say more about it. As I tried this on with my little mermaid’s bittersweet ballad, I realized her lyrics could teach me a lot about common pitfalls I find myself tripping over in my journey toward being a woman after God’s heart.

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Introducing Mr. Valentine

As a little girl, I loved February 14th. It has always been one of my favorite holidays, even when I had no concept of romance. Why? Because we would get to see Mr. Valentine!  My grandparents thought Christmas could be excessively focused on consumerism, so they chose to have our family exchange gifts on Valentine’s Day instead. Every year, our extended family would gather to eagerly await the arrival of Mr. Valentine, whose identity was a timeless secret. To this day, I distinctly remember pressing my face to the living room window with my cousins, as we would strive to be the first to spot the sign of a man with a white mask, top hat, red cane, and covered in red and pink hearts. The first kid to spot him would yell and point to the odd looking figure tripping nonchalantly up the road, twirling his cane, and bowing to random strangers on the street.

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The Princess Effect: Who Are You Most Like?

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http://sarina-rose.deviantart.com/art/Disney-Princess-512429114

Recently  I took one of those Facebook polls that tells you your closest Disney relative. I’m not sure what exactly I do when I learn I’m just like Baloo from the Jungle Book, but it got me thinking.  Are there any life lessons, better yet, any spiritual wisdom to be gained from examining ourselves and our Disney character counterparts?

I grew up with a dad who took his daughters to Disneyland every year and to see every movie Disney ever made, so these characters remain near and dear to me.  As a grown woman, I still get a kick out of experiencing their magic, though I see them through different eyes. I imagine just about every girl has at least one hidden princess lurking around inside.  I wondered, what exactly can these beauties teach me in my journey toward biblical womanhood?

As I sat down to pen The Snow White Effect,  the first of my Princess Effect series,  I predicted cautionary tales of avoiding too many thought patterns that include “Someday My Prince Will Come,” and of finding purpose in loving the people around you, rather than simply putting your life on hold or waiting for prince charming to jump start it.  But God had other plans for me.  In my quest to uncover Snow White’s life lessons, I stumbled upon a greater truth.

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Eve’s “Wow” Factor–Minus The Naked Part

biblical femininity women's rolesUnderstanding Femininity
Since I write a blog about being a biblical woman, I though it would be important to chat about what femininity actually is. Feminism has not only high-jacked our understanding of what it means to be a woman, but has deprecated men to the extent that some of them don’t want to be men anymore and arebecoming” women.

I think Christian women are finally sobered by how far feminism has taken us.  From being afraid to open doors, to stepping aside to let more “competent” women lead in the church, men have given way to the dominance of feminism. Who would blame them? What cultured man wants to be accused of being a chauvinist pig?

How do we respond to this tragedy and fight back to win our men?  We do it by being the woman God created us to be. There is so much written already about Biblical womanhood by godly respected women, so I wanted to take a different approach. I asked several godly men I respect in my local church what they thought being feminine was.

girl-571808_640I asked several men of various ages to write a short list describing the word feminine. Here are their answers.

Mr. Single 28: “Beautiful, loving and kind, loves children, follower, helper.”
Mr. Single 30: “Lady-like, beautiful, gentle, dresses or “girly” clothing.”
Mr. Married 36:  “Soft (physically), not hardened like a man, pretty, tender, caring, maternal, homemaker”.
Mr. Married 40: “Beautiful, happy helpmate, thoughtfully modest.”
Mr. Married 63: “Caring, trustful, listener”.
Mr. Married  65: “Loving, motherly, counterpart, helper.”

I don’t know about you but, I was a little surprised by some of their answers. The dictionary says feminine is “having qualities or appearance traditionally associated with women, especially delicacy and prettiness.” I was expecting words like “pretty” and “beautiful,” but not “soft, gentle, motherly.” It was a good reminder to embrace 1 Peter’s instruction to have a gentle and quiet spirit.

Part of what makes a woman feminine is when she reflects God’s beauty; she is at rest within herself – not constantly worried or anxious. Women have the opportunity to behold and reflect the beauty of God in a way that men don’t. A woman who is quietly trusting in the Lord, no matter what is going on in her life, naturally exhibits the peace that is so attractive and precious in God’s sight.

girl-358771__180While most respondents had one word on outer beauty (the younger men more, the elder men none) their definition was mostly comprised of character qualities. The two qualities men value in women were being caring and gentle. This includes having an empathetic, welcoming, accepting spirit or presence and being approachable. WOW. All women can be that! You do not need a gym membership, liposuction, plastic surgery, or perfect highlights to become any of those.  I especially liked “soft-not hardened like a man.” No woman, especially after children, needs to work on that – just let nature take its course!

I’m not advocating “letting yourself go” in the name of being “soft”! My singles pastor told us, “Ladies, if the barn needs painting – paint it!” Being attractive was ONE item on the list, but it was only one. The next two characteristics were maternal or motherly, and being a helper or helpmate.

The feminists have fooled us (all of us, men and women) into thinking being a helper is degrading and unpalatable. But have you noticed how we are not surprised when we hear about the man who ran off with his secretary. Instead, we roll our eyes – that again? What exactly was happening there? Well, there she was, helping and assisting him– all the work-day long. Wait…that was Eve’s job description, right? Wasn’t that what she was made for? Yep. A man being attracted to and wanting a helper is God’s natural design.

By being a helper and serving the men in your spheres of influence, you are not only demonstrating and living out your womanhood, you are also promoting biblical manhood. When men are treated like leaders they start acting like leaders. However, they can’t do it on their own; they need the support of their wives and if single, other godly women in the church.

As much as our culture is pushing a gender neutral agenda, or even advocating changing your gender, you can’t completely eradicate what is in your DNA.  God made women to be feminine. And men want a feminine woman. It’s inherently what makes us who we are as women. Christian women especially need to reclaim femininity and show the world it is valued, necessary, and desirable !  Being feminine, not prissy, is very winsome-to both men and women!

Please share: What do you think being feminine is? Why is that important today?

Walking Single Toward A Winter Wonderland

‘Tis the season to be jolly, right? winter3I remember talking with a friend once in late October about considering online dating, and she advised me to consider waiting until until January.  I had expressed to her numerous times before that online dating didn’t feel like a natural fit for me.  “Why wait ’til January?” I’d asked.  She told me, “Just wait until after the holiday season and see if you feel the same way.  And don’t be surprised if you change your mind.” Continue reading

Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride: Part 2

sunset-401541_1280Last week I shared my personal struggle with singleness. (Read it here.) Many days during that third year of dating I wanted to give into despair and call it quits. I had to depend on God each day for His grace to sustain me and keep me from being overcome with insecurity, anxiousness and frustration.  At times it was a moment by moment struggle. I had to continually guard my mind and heart to make sure all my thoughts were true, pure, just, lovely, honorable, excellent and praiseworthy. (Phil. 4:8) If one wasn’t it, I didn’t allow myself to dwell upon it and instead confessed it and renewed my thoughts onto something that was. Continue reading

Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride: Part 1

BridesmaidsEver feel this way? Been there. Nine years ago I hit 30 and ran into my friend’s office gulping down tears.  “Hollie, I just can’t do it any more!” I broke down sobbing, back against the door, as overwhelming feelings of insecurity, sadness, and rejection took over. My boyfriend of three years had still not moved forward. The clincher: we were about to go on a trip with some friends so his roommate  could propose to his girl friend whom he had been dating less than a year. Continue reading

Readers Request: How to Relate to Men in Social Settings

Men and womenDear Dorcas,
“Is it ok to turn and talk to a guy if he is standing next to me and not saying anything?”
Thanks,
Miss S.

A common question I get as a pastor’s wife in college and singles ministry is, “How do I appropriately relate to the men in our group?” Great question. Here are three ways a Christian woman can approach these relationships with discretion and grace. Continue reading